Lucas raised an eyebrow, and at the same time, Valerie jumped up from the top of Olga's head.
He is a big, stout man with a square, masculine face.
It is the Duke Savignac, Valerie's father and the former commander of the Order of the Golden Eagle.
He came up to Lucas and the others, stopped his horse, and jumped down from his back.
"F-Father. ...W-What are you doing here?"
Valerie asks nervously, but he does not seem to answer her.
He turned his eyes to Lucas, took one look at Olga, who was sitting up and muttered to no one in particular
"...I guess this saves me the trouble of going to Ternoire..."
Then he glared at Valerie.
"I hear you murdered Her Highness, my daughter. I've heard of your loyalty and but, I've never seen a traitor from our Savignac family. ...To avenge the crimes of the whole family, even if only a little, your head and my life are at stake. With these two, there is nothing else but to cling to the King's mercy."
Valerie could not bear to hear her father's grave words with a murderous intent.
"No! No, father! I have not laid a hand on Her Highness!"
"Then what are those shackles!"
"This is... a misunderstanding. Olga's there!"
When Valerie looked behind her, Olga was already gone.
If she listened carefully,s he could hear the sound of armored footsteps running through the trees, mingled with the sound of rain.
Lucas bit his teeth. The presence of the Duke of Savignac is so strong that he has taken his eyes off her.
But now was no time to worry about Olga.
"Duke-sama! It's true! Her Highness isn't dead and the Commander didn't do anything! This is a trap set by Her Highness... a trap!"
Lucas says carefully, and the Duke turns to him and looks at him with a sharp and cruel gaze.
Lucas also turned his head toward the Duke and looked at him with a fierce and impassive gaze.
Perhaps this is his true form as a warrior.
When Lucas was preparing himself to be shouted at, the Duke quietly said to him.
"I see... you have reached that point. Then there is no need to be scheming."
"I know. I know Her Highness is alive... and I know where she is."
"That's why! Because of that! I cannot expose Her Highness' mistake. My daughter and I must die if we're to remain loyal to the royal family and ensure the survival of the Savignac family!"
"I don't know what you're talking about! You damn old man!"
Now is not the time to worry about the language.
Lucas shouts out.
But the Duke looked at him and said in a hushed voice
"You don't understand, huh? I'll make it look like the father killed the daughter who murdered Her Highness with his own hands and plead for the lives of the others. Otherwise, His Majesty will not be able to bear the brunt of this. And there's no way to pin all the blame on Her Highness. She did nothing wrong. Even if you can't accept it, I can't accept Her Highness' suffering and her sorrow."
"Do you know what you're saying? Are you going to kill your daughter to cover up your mistake?"
"Of course! Loyalty is the pride of the Savignac family!"
"This is nonsense!"
Lucas lost his composure. Then, in front of him, Valerie quietly steps out.
She looks back at him in confusion, smiles quietly, and turns to her father.
"Father... do I have to die?"
"You must die."
"What about Danna-sama?"
"If you and I die, the Savignac family will live on. I'm trying to protect it. That includes son-in-law, of course."
Valerie gave a small nod and looked back at Lucas again.
"I'm sorry, Danna-sama. I am Savignac's woman after all. If you ask me to give myself up for the sake of loyalty to the royal family, I can't refuse to do so."
Lucas couldn't help but peel his eyes off.
"Wait a minute! This is wrong!"
"Wrong? Well, it may seem so. Or maybe it is. But that's the Savignac family, Danna-sama. We'd even give our lives if His Majesty the King wanted us to. We find honor in the fact that we would rather give our lives smiling."
Valerie smiles quietly. It is a somewhat forced, sad farewell smile that belies the gorgeous expression on her face.
"Danna-sama, I was happy to have shared my feelings with you at the end. I can die proud that I was loved. Now you are free. I will not begrudge you if you love someone else. But it would be sad to be forgotten. So, just a little. Just a little bit. If you remember me from time to time, I'll be... satisfied."
Valerie then walks up to her father, kneels at his feet, and quietly bows her head.
With her hands still shackled, she tucked her long red hair behind her back, slowly revealing her white neck.
"Well, I'm proud to have a daughter like you. My daughter! Your name will be disgraced, forgive me. As soon as I deliver your head to the palace, I will follow you."
The father closes his eyes. The only sound in the world is the silence, and the sound of the rain beating against the ground.
(What is this? What the hell is this? A father kills his daughter for honor, for protecting the family? Nonsense, how can such a stupid thing be allowed to go on? What's Valerie's fault? What's her fault? Am I going to lose her? Why? How did this happen?)
Lucas's head is filled with words with question marks.
His heart aches.
The rain is falling harder and harder, dripping down in front of him through the ends of his soaking wet hair. Her father glanced at him with a scornful look as he stood there in a daze.
'I was wondering if you were just going to give up. I wondered if you would keep your promise to me.'
That's what his eyes said for sure.
(You sly old man...!)
Someone was laughing loudly in his ear.
He had a feeling like that.
Behind his back, someone called "fate" was sneering at him.
He had such a feeling.
The bill for the many lives he had taken, in a different form, was demanding that Lucas pay it off.
He had a feeling that this was the case.
"Farewell, Valerie! My daughter!"
The father raised his great sword, and rainwater dripped down the sword.
And then the moment he lowers it...
Lucas draws his sword and throws himself on top of Valerie, who is kneeling down.
Lucas holds the sword against his fate in his chest. Then, he thinks...
'Whatever the price is, I'll pay it.'
'Play with me.'
'Play with me all you like. I'll dance in your hands till you're satisfied, Fate.'
'I will never let this woman die.'
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